Myths About Taal Lake, Batangas Province, by Porfirio D. Andal, 1931 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Myths About Taal Lake, Batangas Province, by Porfirio D. Andal, 1931 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Myths About Taal Lake, Batangas Province, by Porfirio D. Andal, 1931

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1931 ethnographic paper written by one Porfirio D. Andal from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection

[Cover page.]

Tagalog Paper No. 718.
Porfirio D. Andal.
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  1. TAGALOG: Lipa, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Myths.

Manila September 3, 1931.

[p. 1]

By Porfirio D. Andal
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The Origin of Taal Lake

A long, long time ago, Taal Lake was only a river flowing into Balayan Bay with its source from the northern part of the province of Batangas. Near the present site of the town of Lipa, there lived a husband and wife who had only one daughter. During that time, there were yet very few people inhabiting this province. The couple was very religious and believed in one God named Bathala. They were so devoted and even prayed night and day. They believed in Bathala as the creator of all things.

The daughter grew into a beautiful lady and many suitors came to ask for her hand. Among the suitors was one greatly in love with her and she with him, but he was of different faith from her parents. Her parents did not like her to marry one who professed a different religious belief. Because of her true love, she was able to persuade her parents to marry the young man. The marriage was celebrated and afterwards the couple went to the home of the bridegroom which was located hear the bank of the river.

Many years passed and elapsed, the couple did not give birth to a child. There were already some signs of sterility. They forgot entirely the belief of God and cursed every living

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object they saw. One day, they decided to visit the bride’s mother in order to ask her why they did not give birth to a child, now that it was so many years ago since their marriage. When they reached their mother’s house, they found her very old and could hardly speak. They were received well and their mother was so anxious to see them.

“We would be more appreciated if we have a son or a daughter,” said the wife.

“What can we do, we have tried our best to possess one,” replied the husband.

They were made to eat at the table with the old woman. Everything was prepared for them. After the meal, the wife began to tell her experiences as an independent family.

Finally, the wife said, “It is our duty to visit you and see you well and strong. We come to help you if there is a task to do. But, there is one vital thing in our life to ask you.”

“What are those you like to know and ask of me?” replied the old woman.

“Well, we come to know if there is a remedy for us to bear children.”

The old woman pondered on the question and after a few seconds, she said, “Well, I will give you this advice. Go to a big cave hear the source of the river near your house, at the foot of the big mountain and you will see in the cave a gold cow. This cow is very powerful, and it will help you in any

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question of life. You should pray and adore the gold cow with all your heart. Be able to cast away other beliefs and make it your true God.”

“How shall we go there?” asked the husband.

“Get a banca and row to the source. It will take you about two days to reach the place.”

“Is this all we should do?” queried the wife.

“Follow everything I tell you and you will soon find that after a year from that visit you will bear a child.”

The couple was very happy and at once they took a banca and began to row to the source of the river. The river was very swift and it took them two days to reach the cave. When they reached the cave, they prepared everything and the wife began to pray and with her heart and soul tried to do everything her mother told her. When the man saw the gold cow, he was very much amused and instead of praying, he made fun of the cow and tickled it. He did not believe that the cow was powerful. Everything was performed by the wife, but the husband did not take heed of all she did. After a lapse of [a] long time, the prayer was put to an end and they decided to return.

They took their banca and began to row for home. When they were half-way home, a very strong storm accompanied by a tremendous earthquake occurred. The boat capsized and they were thrown into the water. The boat sank and the banks of the river creaked, stones fell into the river with [a] roaring sound. Suddenly, the water began to rise and spread over wider and wider areas

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so that it was impossible for them to escape death. The storm became stronger and stronger and finally the river was converted into a great body of water. When the storm abated, the water continued to cover large areas of land and it became very deep and blue like the water of the sun. It was the belief among the old folks near the lake that the husband became the volcano at the center of the lake.

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Pulong Bato or Isolated Rock

Near one of the shores of Taal Lake facing the barrio of "Halang" of the town of Lipa is an isolated rock. This rock is famous for being the place where fishermen used to sit with hooks. A myth is connected with its existence, which runs this way:

One beautiful sommer morning, a father and a son went to the lake to fish. It was the belief of the people that in order to catch more fish, the fisherman must pray first before leaving his house. People believe that there is one great ruler of fishes. The man did not pray and forgot all about this belief before going to the lake. The father and the son proceeded to the lake and it was about noon when they reached the shore. Then, the father prepared his hook and line and went to the water waist deep and began to fish. The boy was left in the shallow water near the shore.

After a few minutes, the man caught a big fish known as “banak” in Tagalog. He was very happy and took it ashore to

[p. 5]

his son who was watching him. After catching one fish, the father did not catch anymore until he was finally wearied of fishing. At that moment, he thought that he could have no fish to bring home to his wife, but he could see some fish approaching his bait. At last, he decided to swim after the fish thinking that he would catch more. He became very tired and, at last, instead of catching fish, he was caught by the ruler of the big fish and was carried to his cave at the bottom of the lake. The man died in the cave. Similar incidents happened since then at that place until the place was very much feared of by the fishermen.

In that place, now there is a very big isolated rock called “Pulong Bato,” surrounded by water. This place became the favorite for fishing for fishermen could catch more fish there than in other places of the shore of the lake.

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(NOTE: The preceding two myths were told to me by my nearest relative who is now a very old man living near the shore of the lake. Nearly every summer vacation, I used to go to his home. I am from San Jose, Batangas, the nearest town to Lipa. These stories, though untrue, were handed down from generation to generation. I have heard these two myths many times whenever I go to the home of my relative hear the shore of the lake. This part of the shore of the lake is under the jurisdiction of the town of Lipa. Porfirio D. Andal.)

September 5, 1931.

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Myths about Taal Lake, Batangas Province,” by Porfirio D. Andal, 1931, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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